Well, at least the Bruins’ Providence (AHL) farm club is being thrown a life preserver here.
The P-Bruins have dropped six in a row and are on the verge of losing their season. Now they’ll have both Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron back with them in time to skate Wednesday night at Portland.
Boston, meanwhile, is now back to just 12 forwards, so all the talk about competing for playing time goes out the window.
Hamill was assigned after the game yesterday, while the Bruins assigned Caron today. Daniel Paille is scheduled to return to the lineup tomorrow night after his four-game suspension.
In three games, Hamill recorded one assist while centering Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler — no one’s idea of the type of snipers that can help a rookie elevate his game. Since his return to Boston, Caron skated in three games and failed to record a point while spending his time on the fourth line. Caron did not play in the third period Sunday in Detroit.
I would argue that neither player was given much of a chance to prove himself in the NHL. Even if you disagree, you have to admit that keeping at least one spare forward always seems to work in Boston’s favor.
Paille was playing well before the suspension, and rookie Tyler Seguin looked slightly better Sunday against Detroit than he did prior to spending two games as a healthy scratch. But there’s no reason to write them in the lineup in permanent. The Bruins under head coach Claude Julien have always been a better team with a spare player up front and on defense to push for spot in the lineup.
The Bruins still have seven defensemen. After Sunday, it looks like rookie Steven Kampfer might be the one waiting his turn for a while after Mark Stuart played that role for eight games. Up front, however, there’s no one to light a fire under some of the forwards who are much too apt to get complacent.
One would have to think that this will be a one-game thing, and the Bruins might recall someone after Providence’s game Wednesday and before Boston’s game Thursday on Long Island. That game with the Islanders starts a string of six straight on the road, including three in Western Canada next week.
This also could be a ploy to keep the average cap space used as low as possible so the Bruins can maximize their room between now and the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins’ nonchalant forwards respond to knowing they’re guaranteed to play Tuesday night.